Apple CEO: Privacy concerns to grow more urgent

People’s concerns about privacy and how their data is used online will only grow in future years, Apple CEO Tim Cook predicted.

In an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Cook indicated the government and companies that collect billions of bits of data about people would be under pressure to change their ways in the near future.

“I think people have a right to privacy,” he said in the interview, which aired on Monday evening. “I think that’s going to be a very key topic over the next year or so, and will reach higher and higher levels of urgency as more and more incidents happen.”

Privacy is a “tough balance," he added. "And I don't think that the country or the government's found the right balance. I think they erred too much on the collect everything side.”

While the Obama administration has seemed committed to “moving that pendulum back,” Cook tried to differentiate Apple from companies like Google — which partly use people’s online activity to market ads to them.

“We’ve taken a very different view of this than a lot of other companies have,” he said. “I think everyone has to ask: How do companies make their money?”

“Follow their money, and if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried,” he added.

Cook’s company came under fire in recent weeks, after a number of celebrities’ intimate photos were stolen off of its iCloud storage service.  

The theft caused alarm on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers worried that it could be a sign of deeper problems with the company. 

In an earlier segment of the show, however, Cook said that the service was not hacked. In fact, he said, the photos were stolen via a “phishing expedition,” where celebrities were convinced to unknowingly give up their passwords.

“There are lots of bad people that do this. And what we said was, we need to figure out how can we try to protect our customers on this,” he said.

“That's our top goal, and so we're working internally about how to bring more awareness to these schemes.”